News of wildlife and other issues

Don't say I didn't warn ya!

There it was – gone. Just like the view from Aldersbrook Road, opposite the shops at the Parade, the view from the south side of the Shoulder of Mutton Pond will – I predict – go the same way.

wp som 150423 5148artThe Shoulder of Mutton PondOn a visit on 21st April 2015 to what I think is one of the nicest locations in Wanstead Park – the south side of the Shoulder of Mutton pond looking across towards Wanstead – I realised just how much willow had grown up along the shore-line. Much more – and it won't take long – and in-leaf, the view will soon be all-but gone.

wp 150421 5111artScalped through to the soil below - this should be a wildflower meadowContinuing on the theme of disappointments in management, walking along the north side of Heronry Pond – towards the Park-proper with the golf-course to the left – one of the finest bits of grassland in the park has just about gone, too. It used to be quite fine grass – never very high – and with a nice selection of flowering plants that gave colour, and food and breeding habitat to loads of insects including Burnet Moths. Whilst the track was being re-surfaced in 2010 the grass was inevitably used instead by bikes, prams, walkers, dogs and joggers. It still had a chance to recover after the “new” track was re-opened; all it needed was a disincentive log to be strategically placed either end of the area, but although I asked the Forest to do this it didn't happen. They know best, and now they even know it is best to scalp the area into a lawn. I could swear at this point: what the hell do you need a scalped lawn there for? (See here)

Just a few metres further on – on either side of the fence that separates the Park from the Park-lands – all the insect-favoured bramble scrub has been removed. All of it. Just like most has been removed from the other insect-favoured scrub near the top of the Glade, from just behind the Grotto, from what will be the bicycle/pedestrian Roding Valley Way at Whiskers Island, and of course- not scrub but herbs – annually by the east end of Perch Pond. And why was all the scrub and trees removed by Epping Forest Conservation Volunteers from the crater just south of the keeper's lodges. Surely that was only doing harm by acting as a nesting place for birds and a resting place for insects?

wp 150421 5113cAn unnecessary path-closure in Chalet WoodOne more. Chalet Wood is looking good right now with its becoming-famous bluebells. I do think the path-edging that I have been suggesting for years has been successful and most people who I speak top agree. There are aspects of the way it has been done that I am not fully happy with – too much scrub has been cut down on the east edge, for example. And since Gill and Alan James and myself – primarily – laid out its pattern in 2014 (see here) others have been in there and changed things a bit. Desire-line paths have been blocked, particularly that which runs between a sward of Wood Anemones. Though this may have been done with the intention of enhancing those delicate flowers, I fear it will have the opposite effect, as the desire to use the path – and indeed to look at the flowers either side of it – may just encourage people to walk over them. There are signs this is already happening.

So – back to the Shoulder of Mutton and its willows. I mention that now like I mentioned the potential problems with Floating Pennywort in Perch Pond and New-Zealand Pygmyweed in Alexandra Lake years ago. Both those issues were ignored, now the problems are extreme. Something could be done about willow encroachment now, perhaps, but if not – well, don't say I didn't warn ya.

Paul Ferris, 22nd April 2015

Additions to species list in 2015

for 2014 additions, click HERE

for 2016 additions, click HERE

for 2017 additions, click HERE

for 2018 additions, click HERE

* in some cases the entry was made some time after the species was found. This may be due to a new identification or a previous mis-identification.

Species Common Name Type of Organism Date of find or entry* Found by:
Apion frumentarium Red Rumex Weevil a beetle 05/11/2015 Rose Stephens
Agrochola macilenta Yellow-line Quaker a moth 28/10/2015 Tim Harris
Trombidium holosericeum Velvet Mite a mite 08/10/2015 Paul Ferris
Lestes viridis Willow Emerald Damselfly a damselfly 06/09/2015 Gill James/Tim Harris
Gymnosporangium sabinae Pear Rust a fungus 27/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Dysdera crocata Woodlouse Spider a spider 23/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Caloptilia rufipennella Small Red Slender a micro moth 22/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Parornix devoniella Hazel Slender a micro moth 22/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Cryptoblabes bistriga Double-striped Knot-horn a micro moth 22/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Autographa pulchrina Beautiful Golden Y a moth 15/07/2015 Tim Harris
Cosmia pyralina Lunar-spotted Pinion a moth 15/07/2015 Tim Harris
Chryphia muralis Marbled Green a moth 11/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Cydalima perspectalis Box Tree Moth a moth 10/07/2015 Tim Harris
Synanthedon vespiformis Yellow-legged Clearwing a moth 10/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Synanthedon andrenaeformis Orange-tailed Clearwing a moth 06/07/2015 Paul Ferris
Bembecia ichneumoniformis Six-belted Clearwing a moth 04/07/2015 Tim Harris
Rhinanthus minor Yellow Rattle a flowering plant 21/06/2015 Kathy Hartnett
Psychoides filicivora Fern Smut a micro moth 19/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Nemophora fasciella Horehound Longhorn a micro moth 19/06/2015 Kathy Hartnett
Phyllonorycter platani London Midget a micro moth 17/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Deraeocoris flavilinea ? a mirid bug a bug 17/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Rhynchites aequatus Apple Fruit Weevil a weevil 17/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Calocoris (Grypocoris) stysi a plant bug a bug 17/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Parhelophilus frutetorum? a hoverfly a hoverfly 17/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Apamea remissa Dusky Brocade a moth 13/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Ectoedemia decentella Sycamore-seed Pigmy a micro moth  13/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Panurgus sp. (Furry?) Panurgus a mining bee 13/06/2015  Paul Ferris
Herminiina grisialis Small Fan-foot a micro moth 13/06/2015  Tim Harris 
Abrostola triplasia Dark Spectacle a moth 13/06/2015  Tim Harris
Tethea ocularis Figure of Eighty a moth 11/06/2015  Tim Harris
Formica cunicularia ? an ant an ant 08/06/2015 Paul Ferris 
Xanthorhoe spadicearia Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet  a moth 05/06/2015 Paul Ferris 
Heliothis peltigera Bordered Straw a moth 05/06/2015 Tim Harris
Argyresthia spinosella Blackthorn Argent a micro moth 04/06/2015 Tim Harris
Chrysoesthia drurella Flame Neb a micro moth 01/06/2015 Paul Ferris
Clogmia albipunctata an owl midge a fly 01/06/2015  Paul Ferris
Caloptilia alchimiella Yellow-triangle Slender a micro moth 29/05/2015  Tim Harris
Agonopterix arenella Brindled Flat-body a micro moth 27/05/2015  Tim Harris
Dichrorampha montanana Spike-marked Drill a micro moth 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Dichrorampha sequana Square-spot Drill a micro moth 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Onthophagus sp. a Dor Beetle a beetle 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Glyphipterix simpliciella Cocksfoot Moth a micro moth 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Tenthredopsis sp. (litterata ?) a sawfly a sawfly 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Tachypodoiulus niger White-legged Snake-millipede a millipede 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Taphrina pruni a fungi gall on blackthorn a gall 25/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Ancistrocerus trifasciatus a potter wasp a wasp 24/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Philodromus (albidus) a crab spider a spider 21/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Philodromus dispar a crab spider a spider 10/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Pheosia tremula Swallow Prominent a moth 07/05/2015 Tim Harris
Roeslerstammia erxlebella Copper Ermel a micro moth 04/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Hypera postica ? Clover Leaf Weevil a weevil 04/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Harpocera thoracica ? a mirid bug a bug 02/05/2015 Paul Ferris
Andrena (haemorrhoa?) Early Mining Bee a bee 23/04/2015 Paul Ferris
Drymonia ruficornis Lunar Marbled Brown a moth 21/04/2015 Tim Harris
Bibio lanigerus a March fly a fly 09/04/2015 Paul Ferris
Ichneumon stramentarius an ichneumon wasp a wasp 08/04/2015 Paul Ferris
Orthosia populeti Lead-coloured Drab a moth 05/04/2015 Tim Harris
Empoasca vitis ? a leafhopper a bug 23/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Drosophilidae (family) a fruit fly a  fly 23/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Sitticus pubescens a crab spider a spider 20/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Amaurobius fenestralis a lace-weaver spider a spider 18/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Deraeocoris lutescens  a mirid bug a bug 14/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Tibellus sp. (obllongus) a crab spider a spider 12/03/2015 Rose Stephens
Ozyptila sp. a spider a spider 12/03/2015 Rose Stephens
Euophrys frontalis a jumping spider a spider 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Rhyzobius litura a ladybird a beetle 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Dromius linearis a ground beetle  a beetle 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Nabis rugosus Common Damsel Bug a bug 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Mocydiopsis attenuata a hemipteran bug a bug 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Drymus sylvaticus a groundhoppe a bug 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Asiraca clavicornis a planthopper a bug 10/03/2015 Rose Stephens/Paul Ferris
Acleris ferrugana / notana a micro moth a micro moth 05/03/2015 Paul Ferris
Asellus aquaticus Water Slater a crustacean 27/02/2015 Paul Ferris
Tomocerus sp. a springtail a springtail 27/02/2015 Rose Stephens
Entomobrya sp. (multifasciata?) a springtail a springtail  27/02/2015 Rose Stephens
Ceratopognidae (family) a biting midge  a biting midge 24/02/2015 Rose Stephens
Tomocerus minor a springtail a springtail 17/02/2015 Rose Stephens
Blaniulus guttulatus Spotted Snake-millipede a millipede 10/02/2015 Rose Stephens
Gelis sp. a parasitic wasp a parasitic wasp  31/01/2015 Rose Stephens
Collembola (family) a springtail a springtail 29/01/2015 Paul Ferris
Psychodidae (family)  an owl midge a fly 27/01/2015 Paul Ferris
Psychodidae (family) an owl midge a fly 27/01/2015 Paul Ferris
Swammerdamia pyrella Little Ermel a micro moth 06/08/2013* Paul Ferris
Dichrorampha petiverella Common Drill a micro moth 19/07/2011* Paul Ferris

 

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Bats of the Wanstead area - a status summary

by Tim Harris

 

A qualifier with these observations is that I typically record bats in our area on 6-8 evenings per season. Lots will inevitably be missed.

 

Daubenton’s Bat (Myotis daubentoni)

A regular species in small numbers over and around the lakes in Wanstead Park and probably in larger numbers at Hollow Pond although, ironically, not positively picked up on the two waterways transects along the River Roding in August 2013. In 2014 several individuals were detected over Heronry Lake on 30/7 and over Perch Pond on 31/7 and 4/9 (Wren bat evenings).

Serotine (Eptesicus serotinus)

1 near Whiskers Island on 22/8/2013 was detected while on a waterways bat transect for BCT (TH/SP).

Common Noctule (Nyctalus noctula)

A species regularly recorded in small numbers over Wanstead Park, Wanstead Flats and Hollow Pond. Alexandra Lake seems to be a popular foraging area for the species in midsummer, when individuals can be seen at or even just before sunset, and also just before dawn. I have never seen more than 8 together in our area and most observations are of singles.

Leisler’s Bat (Nyctalus leisleri)

1 was detected near Perch Pond on the evening of 26/7/2009 and there was a probable there on the evening of 17/7/2009 (PF/TH).

Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus)

A common species in summer in Wanstead Park, Wanstead Flats, Hollow Pond etc. Favoured foraging areas include all the waters in Wanstead Park, and Alexandra Lake. My feeling is that the species may be a little less common than Soprano Pipistrelle, which seems to emerge a little earlier in the evening. In 2014 good numbers foraged on suitable evenings around and over Heronry Lake and Perch Pond.

Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

Common locally in Wanstead Park, Wanstead Flats, Hollow Pond etc. Favoured foraging areas include all the waters in Wanstead Park and Alexandra Lake. My feeling is that the species may be a little more common than Common Pipistrelle in our area, and it seems to emerge a little earlier in the evening. In 2014, good numbers foraged on suitable evenings over and around Heronry Lake and Perch Pond. This is the species that most often come over my garden in Belgrave Road.

Nathusius’ Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii)

Two transects specifically for this species were conducted for the BCT in September 2013, around Heronry Lake. On the second of these transects on 22/9/2013, recordings were made and 1 individual was identified (TH/MH). This species is probably under-recorded.

Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus)

Never recorded by me locally, but it probably should be around. This is a harder species to pick up due to its different feeding technique and quiet echolocation calls. Worthy of further investigation!

Tim Harris, 12/09/2014

Mammal Survey in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

On Friday 29th August 2014, Darren Tansley, Water for Wildlife Officer for the Essex Wildlife Trust, and Tim Harris, from the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, set out 30 small mammal traps in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands. This is the site of the old Redbridge Southern Sewage Works and now is mostly part of Epping Forest, with a central area belonging to Thames Water Authority. (for more information on the site, click here)

The traps used were Longworth Traps, which are designed to trap small mammals live so that they may be examined. Even when the trap is sprung there is a small hole for very small mammals to escape; Shrews need to eat continually, or they will die.

This operation was on behalf of our local Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group, and the following morning Darren gave ten Wren Group members some fascinating insights into the behaviour of voles, mice and shrews. The catch was four Wood Mice (2 males, 1 female and 1 that escaped before being sexed!) and a single Field Vole. There was also plenty of evidence of shrew activity, with both Common Shrew and Pygmy Shrew likely to be on site.

field vole rose cField Vole

wood mouse rose cWood Mouse

Darren raised a number of possibilities regarding the Exchange Lands. He thought there was a reasonable chance of Harvest Mice being present on the site. Apparently this species can colonise in only a few years of changed habitat status, and the site has been changing since it was closed as a sewage works in 1978 and later redeveloped to become part of Epping Forest in the 1990s. He also thought the Roding margins were worth checking for Water Shrews. And then, of course, there are Water Voles and Otters to look out for. Water Voles used to be a common inhabitant of the Roding adjacent to this site as well as through Wanstead Park. They became scarce by the early 1990s, although one was seen in 1998 and again in mid July, 2004. Since then, I have not heard of any being present. This may well be due to the presence of American Mink. Otters, however, are now not far upstream, and there have been one or two unconfirmed reports of sighting in the Roding by Wanstead Park, so surely it is only a matter of time?

 

Information supplied by Tim Harris - Photos by Rose Stephens

Paul Ferris, 1st September 2014

 

Ringlets in Wanstead Park – and in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Last year (2013) the first Ringlet butterfly to be recorded in the area was spotted by Kathy Hartnett and myself just to the east of the Shoulder of Mutton Pond in Wanstead Park. (see article here)

Ringlet wp 140711 JC cThe second recorded Ringlet. This one was in Wanstead Park on 11th July 2014 (photo by Jennifer Charter)This year, on July 9th, Jennifer Charter was walking her dog when she saw what she thought may have been a Ringlet in exactly the same location, on the same patch of Rosebay Willowherb. She told me of this, but said that she couldn't be positive about the identification.

Today, though (11th July), again while walking Grace, a butterfly unexpectedly flew past her in dullish weather, landed on a small oak and waited while she photographed it. It was most certainly a Ringlet, and a little further east than the other sightings, but it seems that they are in that area.

Another local wildlife-enthusiast – Rose Stephens – saw what she thought may have been a Ringlet on Wanstead Flats yesterday (10th). It seems she posted the information on Facebook, but I don't use that, so received the information second-hand. I looked at her photograph, but am not convinced it is other than the much more likely Meadow Brown. It would have been lovely if it were a Ringlet, but the butterfly is not typically found in open areas such as grassland or heathland, preferring damp and sheltered places.

This damp and sheltered habitat is more in line with where it was seen in Wanstead Park last year and this, and on 13th July during a Wren Group walk in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands (the Old Sewage Works site) Mark Thomas, spotted a Ringlet amongst vegetation near the pylon towards the cemetery end. Then Kathy Hartnett found another on the lower path beside the Roding.

It was great news that we have Ringlets in the Park, and it seems that they are present further afield in our area too. This brings the total number of butterfly species in our area to 28.

Paul Ferris, 11th July 2014